About Congregation Sha’aray Shalom A Vibrant Jewish Community on the South Shore
Congregation Sha’aray Shalom is a Jewish synagogue that serves as the lighthouse for Reform Judaism on Boston’s South Shore.
Our community consists of 285 families living in thirty towns along the south coast of Massachusetts Bay — from Boston to Plymouth. Our congregation’s home is on historic and beautiful Main Street in Hingham.
We have a tradition of an “open door” which welcomes every family member — Jews by birth, Jews by choice, and non-Jewish family members — and strives to integrate them into our community. Our strength draws on our commitment to honor and respect the diversity of our backgrounds.
We are led by a dynamic clergy team of Rabbi Shira Joseph and Cantor Steven Weiss, offering weekly Shabbat services as well as a full calendar of festival celebrations, a full-program religious school with nearly 200 students, a JCC Early Learning Center, and active adult learning and social programs. We are affiliated with the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ).
Although we have been at our current location in Hingham since 1980, Congregation Sha’aray Shalom roots go back to the 1950’s when various families would meet in borrowed and leased space at various locations on the South Shore including the Hingham Shipyard.
From these nomadic beginnings, we have grown to a congregation of approximately 282 households. We are a Reform Congregation with a diverse membership interested in all aspects of Jewish traditions, heritage and faith.
Congregation Sha’aray Shalom is a Reform Jewish community on the South Shore of Boston that provides Beit T’Fillah (worship),Beit Midrash (study), and Beit Knesset (assembly), for the celebration and preservation of our Jewish heritage and our founders’ vision.
We offer traditional and innovative forms of worship, both communal and personally meaningful, to draw us spiritually closer to God, Torah, and each other, Am Yisrael (the Jewish people).
We promote lifelong learning and spiritual enrichment for all through abundant and varied opportunities for Jewish study.
Our diversity is our strength. We welcome congregants of all backgrounds and attributes. We encourage family members from other faith traditions to join our community and participate on a level that is consistent with Jewish values and comfortable for them.
We participate in Tikkun Olam (repairing our world) by responding to the varied needs of our own Jewish community, to K’lal Yisrael(the world-wide Jewish community), to Eretz Yisrael (the State of Israel), and to our greater civic community.
We welcome you to Congregation Sha’aray Shalom. We hope that it will be an exciting, and spiritually uplifting year for you and your family.
Over the course of this coming year, we will have many opportunities to worship together, study together, and celebrate together. We will continue to share in each others lives both in times of celebration – the birth of our children, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a marriage… as well as supporting each other in times of loss.
That is what makes this community so special…for each and every member.
May the coming year be one of good health, joy for our community and the world at large.
Congregation Sha’aray Shalom is a Reform Jewish congregation on Boston’s South Shore that practices Jewish study, worship, inclusion, and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) from generation to generation.
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, here at Sha’aray Shalom it takes a village to be the village. Our congregants come from many surrounding communities to worship, learn, and socialize together at our spiritual home in beautiful Hingham. Our religious school is a busy hub of activity and music — growing with new families each year — and is also home to the JCC Early Learning Center. The sisterhood, men’s network, and youth group all have active calendars, and congregants also benefit from frequent adult education opportunities and social events.
Join us at Friday night or Saturday morning Shabbat services to experience our community for yourself. Contact our office, Rabbi Joseph or Cantor Weiss for more information or to arrange a visit.
Rabbi Joseph joined Congregation Sh’aray Shalom in July 2003. She has developed and implemented a host of innovative educational, spiritual and social programs for congregants of all ages and backgrounds. Rabbi Joseph has been very involved in helping youth with special needs, and the education of interfaith families. She represents Congregation Sha’aray Shalom within the general community as an active member of the Hingham/Hull Religious Leaders Association. She has also often been a speaker at the URJ (Union of Reform Judaism) Biennial conferences. Rabbi Joseph has also co-authored a women’s Haggadah, “The Matriarchs’ Dance,” which has become the basis of annual Women’s Seder she initiated with the inception Congregation Sha’aray Shalom’s Sisterhood.
Prior to Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, Rabbi Joseph served for nine years as one of the rabbis at Congregation Shir Ami, a 1,000 family synagogue located in Newtown, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Rabbi Joseph was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in June 1995. She received her Masters of Arts in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIR in May 1994.
Rabbi Joseph lives in Weymouth with her husband Saul. They have three grown daughters, Shayna, Samantha, and Lauren.
Cantor Steven Weiss
Cantor Steven Weiss is the Cantor and Director of Education at Congregation Sha’aray Shalom in Hingham, Massachusetts. He has developed innovative musical and educational programs for the entire congregation. His ever-popular Bible to Broadway, Friday Night Live Musical Shabbat and Adult and Children’s Choirs have enriched the Jewish life of both children and adults.
In addition to his work within the Congregation, is also a board member of the Young Leadership Division of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston. He has served on the executive committee of the URJ Commission on Synagogue Management and as a member of the executive board of the American Conference of Cantors.
Before joining Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, he served at Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta, Georgia for ten years, both as a student and a professional cantor. Prior to that Cantor Weiss served as the Student Cantor at Temple B’nai Brith in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Cantor Weiss received his Master’s Degree and investiture from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion School of Sacred Music in May, 1996. Originally from Great Neck, New York, Cantor Weiss holds a Bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College where he studied Human Resource Management and Opera Performance at its esteemed music school.
Cantor Weiss is married to Dr. Stephanie Gertz. They have two children – Breanna and Micah.
Email: Cantor Steven Weiss
Executive Director – Ellen Bernstein & School Administrator – Annette Jenkins
Lay Leadership - Executive Committee
Deborah Farber: President
Adam Brodsky: 1st Vice President
Michael Katz: 2nd Vice President
Julie Fox: 3rd Vice President
David Miller: Treasurer
Peter Bloomfield: Assistant Treasurer
Steven Pohl: Financial Secretary
Heidi Short: Assistant Financial Secretary
Lillie Seeger: Recording Secretary
Barbara Carlin: Corresponding Secretary
Lay Leadership - Board of Trustees
- David Alschuler
- Judy Kalla & Allison Junkins: CSS Sisterhood Co-Presidents
Marty Gall: CSS Men’s Club President
Scott Garland: Immediate Past President
History of Congregation Sha’aray Shalom
In 1959, Rabbi Alexander Schindler helped 25 families from Hingham, Hull and surrounding towns organize a Reform Jewish congregation, Temple Beth Am. They borrowed space to hold Shabbat Services, to observe holy days and to provide classes for children and social and educational activities for adults. For ten years, the group met in various locations- the Boy Scout Building in Hull, Pope Memorial Church in Cohasset, the Third Universalist Church in Weymouth, the Pyrotech Building in the Hingham Shipyard, the House of Prayer Lutheran Church and, beginning in 1969, the First Parish-Old Ship Church and its parish house in Hingham. During these early years, itinerant, part-time rabbis conducted Shabbat and holiday services, bar and bat mitzvah service, and Sunday school classes. A portable ark lovingly built by Herbie Koch held the sacred Torah Scrolls.
In 1969, a group of 16 families reorganized as The Jewish Community Center of the South Shore, its stated mission to provide a diverse Jewish experience with the South Shore area. In 1974, Rabbi Benjamin Rudavsky was hired and programs focused on families with children. In 1976, the Congregation voted to change its name, becoming Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, congregation Gates of Peace. Seeking a permanent home, in 1977 the Board of Trustees purchased land at 1112 Main Street in Hingham and constructed a new building. In 1980, this new building was dedicated. Congregation Sha’aray Shalom had a home of its own at last.
In 1981, the first full-time rabbi, Rabbi Stephen Karol, became spiritual leader and principal of the religious school. The congregation had grown to 140 families. By 1986, the “new” building no longer accommodated the growing enrollment, with over 285 children in the school: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services again took place in borrowed space- at the South Shore country Club, later at Hingham High School. The Temple building was expanded in 1994. New classrooms, social hall, library and office space and a redesigned sanctuary permitted many more opportunities for the community to gather.
Programs had grown as well, with emphasis on educating children and adults, in keeping with Jewish tradition. In 1988, Joan Carr became the part-time Director of Education, and in 1990 began working in that capacity on a full-time basis; children enrolled in Sunday religious school and twice weekly Hebrew classes. Visiting scholars and lectures on the middle east Jewish law, societal concerns and culture were open to members.
The congregation welcomed its present rabbi, Rabbi Shira Joseph, in 2003. Because music is an integral part of worship, since 1978 cantorial soloists have led singing and chanting at services, and a choir and instrumentalists have enhanced holiday services. Cantor Steven Weiss was welcomed in 2004 as the first invested cantor, serving also as Director of Education.
The congregation from its inception has offed social activities, adult education courses, speakers, films, as well as musical shows, holiday festivities and the sharing of life cycle events. Together, members have connected to bless new babies, celebrate marriages and mourn the loss of loved ones.
Early on, the congregation established a Social Action Committee, in keeping with the Torah’s teachings to perform Mitzvot-good deeds-and give Tzedakah- give charitably. Members have helped people in need both in the congregation and in the wider community, and have supported many worthy causes, local and Jewish organizations. In the 1970’s congregants sponsored resettlement of a Laotian refugee family, and in the 1980’s a Russian ‘refusenik’ family; in the 1980’s and 1990’s support went to Ethiopian Jews rescued by Israel. Ongoing collections have been offered to Wellspring in Hull and the Hingham Interfaith Food Pantry. Each year the school children and the youth group have adopted mitzvahs projects.
In 2009, the Temple opened up interior and outdoor spaces to establish the JCC Early Learning Center, run by Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, in affiliation with combined Jewish Philanthropies. Children of members and non-members attend weekday classes for toddler and preschool levels.
Congregation Sha’aray Shalom is marking 60 years of the Jewish community’s presence on the south Shore in 2019 and looks forward to many more years of being an active member of the community.
From Communities North of Hingham
Take Route 3 South to Exit 14
At the end of ramp turn left onto Route 228
Continue past the lights at the intersection
of Routes 228 and 53 (Queen Anne’s Corner)
Go for approximately 1/2 mile. The Temple will be on your right across from a nursery
From Communities South of Hingham
Take Route 3 North to Exit 14
At the end of ramp turn right onto Route 228
Continue past the lights at the intersection of Routes 228 and 53 (Queen Anne’s Corner)
Go for approximately 1/2 mile. The Temple will be on your right across from a nursery